Wednesday, November 20, 2013

.יב The Big City Synagogue

הא דכרכים והא דכפרים ודכרכים אין מטמא בנגעים והתניא אחוזתכם אחוזתכם מטמאה בנגעים ואין ירושלים מטמאה בנגעים אמר ר' יהודה אני לא שמעתי אלא מקום מקדש בלבד הא בתי כנסיות ובתי מדרשות מטמאין בנגעים ואע"ג דכרכים נינהו אימא אמר רבי יהודה אני לא שמעתי אלא מקום מקודש בלבד

I'm having difficulty understanding how the גמרא actually answers the question here. The subject here is the גמרא's suggestion that the rural shuls may be subject to נגעים whereas urban shuls may not. So we directly question the assertion regarding urban shuls. The implication of the ברייתא is that any edifice at least outside of ירושלים may be subject to נגעים. So in the end, we understand רבי יהודה to mean that any מקום מקודש would be exempt. But then doesn't that exempt all shuls? How does this solve our problem. Yes, we have found an exemption for the urban shuls but we have not found a source to differentiate between urban and rural shuls whatsoever. Now, in truth, the גמרא eventually discards this approach for a similar reason later on. But couldn't they have done so already at this point?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

ירידת הדורות ט

The גמרא discusses the various reasons for the destruction of the משכן and בתי מקדש as well as the level of severity of each. It is interesting to note a nuance in this discussion which is not discussed explicitly. There is a definite progression in the "literal" nature of the critical offenses. 

Let me explain by starting with the בית שני. There we are told that שנאת חינם was the culprit. As we all know, it was pure, unadulterated שנאת חינם.

The בית ראשון was because of the ג' חמורות. But exactly was the גילוי עריות? The גמרא explains that it refers to immodest conduct on the part of בנות ישראל. They conducted themselves in such a way as to incite the יצר הרע. It does not say that actual ג"ע was rampant.

The conduct of בני עלי in the time of the משכן is yet an even more far-fetched classification of גילוי עריות. What I believe this nuance is indicating is the degree to which הקב"ה is מדקדק throughout the generations. The generation of משכן שילה was on a much higher level and therefore judged with much greater scrutiny, ultimately being punished for something which only remotely resembled גילוי עריות. As the generations progressed, more explicit transgressions were needed to mete out justice. 

:ט Let the Building bear witness

I found this exchange most intriguing. The גמרא is comparing the merits of the generations that saw the destruction of each בית המקדש. The consensus seems to be that the fact the בית המקדש has not been rebuilt, in contrast to the relatively short initial exile of 70 years, is proof of the greater merit of the earlier generations.

We are taught (actually ירושלמי in this פרק)
כל דור שאינו נבנה בימיו מעלין עליו כאילו הוא החריבו
It would seem that the responsibility for bringing the בית המקדש back would lie in the hands of the subsequent generations in exile. Yet, the גמרא seems to tie it back to the generation in which it was destroyed. I suppose one support for this could be that the prophecy of the 70-year exile was already given to ירמיהו כ"ט:י. The גמרא must understand that it was due to the merit of the generation of the destruction that an expiry was put on the ensuing exile from the very beginning, whereas as no such favour was granted the second time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

:ח A Sprinkling Every Day... Almost

כהן גדול ביום הכפורים דלא בדידן תליא מילתא אלא בקביעא דירחא תליא מילתא בתלתא בתשרי בעי לאפרושי וכל אימת דמתרמי תלתא בתשרי מפרשינן ליה
רש"י ד"ה וכל אימת דמתרמי מפרשינן ליה. ואע"ג דלא הוי רביעי שלו בשבת ונמצאת הזאתו בטלה שני ימים:

Indeed, as רש"י asserts, it is possible that we might miss two days of sprinkling. But is that really the maximum? Suppose יום כפור falls out on a Thursday. Therefore, Day 1 of separation is Thursday. Day 3 will be skipped because it is שבת (as will Day 4.) But now, when we reach Day 7, what is the purpose of sprinkling? Since we did not sprinkle on Day 3, sprinkling on Day 7 accomplishes nothing. Accordingly, if Days 1 or 2 were to fall out on שבת there would be no use in sprinkling on Day 5 or 6, respectively. So there would be three days on which we don't sprinkle. That being said, if Day 1 was Thursday and he somehow did manage to become טמא for real before being separated, we would have a serious issue since we would not be able to do both sprinklings before יום כפור.

:ח Sprinkling on Day 3

שלישי שמא שלישי
רש"י ד"ה בשלמא. ... וכן שלישי שמא שעה אחת קודם פרישתו נטמא:
We are entertaining the possibility that he became טמא on Day 1. This contradicts what we saw on .ו
רב שימי מנהרדעא אמר אפי' תימא בועל נדה כנדה דמפרשינן ליה שעה אחת סמוך לשקיעת החמה
If he is separated before sunset on Day 0, how is it possible for him to become טמא on Day 1?
Now, in the end we reject רב שימי's suggestion so certainly it comes out that practically we need not separate the כהן גדול before the onset of Day 1. So this isn't a serious difficulty. However, that being the case, could the גמרא not have brought this as a proof against רב שימי?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

:וA Slight Correction

רש"י ד"ה לטמא אוכלין ומשקין. ולא לטמא אדם וכלים... ואנא ידענא דמשכבה טמא כמשכב נדה דהא כתיב ותהי נדתה עליו (שם) :

The above highlighted text is found in most versions up until the modern printings. Even my Telman version has it that way. But it should certainly be דמשכבו in masculine. Sure enough, the modern עוז והדר versions incorporated that correction without even making a note of it.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

:ד Need to Know Basis

דאיתמר מלואים ר' יוחנן ורבי חנינא חד אמר כל הכתוב בהן מעכב בהן וחד אמר דבר המעכב לדורות מעכב בהן שאין מעכב לדורות אין מעכב בהן

It took me a while to get to the bottom of this but it does appear that this מחלוקת has no practical ramifications after the מילואים in the מדבר. Furthermore, not only is this discussion historical, it is also hypothetical. It relates only to what would have happened if someone would have left out one of these components. It is ironic that on the very next page, the גמרא asks כיצד הלבישן, how did they dress the כהנים? This question is immediately attacked - whatever was, was. And as far as what we might need to know in the end of days - משה and אהרן will tell us then! Quite a contrast.

There is one simple answer: Although the direct halachic ramifications are indeed constrained to the מילואים we do see from the exchange between ר' יוחנן and ריש לקיש that the understanding of those laws does impact how we would understand the laws governing the yearly separation of the כהן גדול. So it is important on that account.

Perhaps there might be a deeper answer to the general approach given to these issues. There are many times in ש"ס that the גמרא will seem to go a circuitous route to reach a final conclusion. Various approaches and understandings are suggested and debunked, some even seeming illogical from the start. Why arrange the גמרא this way? Why not just get to the end point directly? Clearly, רבינא and רב אשי intended the גמרא to be more than a collection of הלכות. We have ראשונים like the רי"ף and רמב"ם to zero in on what we need to know. But the גמרא is meant to mold are minds and train our brains for the analytical thinking that is required to fully grasp any one subject matter.

In addition to the irony mentioned above, תוספות ה: ד"ה מאי דהוה הוה also asks that the גמרא in סנהדרין discusses how an ox that made contact with הר סיני would have been judged and no objection is brought there either. So how are we to understand this? I believe that really, there is no problem with discussing a legal issue which has no practical import. If it was worthy of discussion then it is just as worthy of discussion now. So why then did the גמרא object to כיצד הלבישן? I think the answer might just be that the גמרא asked the question because there was an answer. The question was posed solely for the purpose of exposing the give and take that would ultimately teach us that there are two contradictory פסוקים which we need to understand. If there's no real answer to the question "why do I need to know this?" then the גמרא simply won't ask it. I hope this approach is not too controversial.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

.ב Deliberate טומאה

מטמאין היו הכהן השורף את הפרה ומטבילין אותו להוציא מלבן של צדוקין שהיו אומרים במעורבי השמש היתה נעשית
תוס' ד"ה להוציא מלבן של צדוקין. לאו בטומאה דאורייתא מטמו ליה דלא הוי מזלזלי בה כולי האי

One question that arises from this explanation of תוספות is that in the end, how are we any better than the צדוקים if we too are careful not to make him טמא מדאורייתא?

However, what bothered me was that our practice doesn’t really make the intended point to the צדקים. We want to show them “Ha. You say the one who burns the cow can’t be a טבול יום but we’ll show you that he can be.” But if they have a complete disregard for any תורה שבעל פה, this טומאה דרבנן is absolutely meaningless to them and as far as they are concerned, he is completely טהור.

I went searching in the מתיבתא edition where I found a lot of attention devoted to the first question and finally, my question is addressed by מעיל שמואל. He writes the להוציא מלבן של צדוקין does not mean that we are addressing them directly. Rather, what is really meant is that we need to make the point to ourselves, to the masses, that they are incorrect. Therefore, the masses who recognize the reality of טומאה דרבנן will see that in fact a טבול יום may burn the cow and will know the צדוקים are wrong. We don’t concern ourselves with what the צדוקים will think.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

:ט”ז Three boxes

ר"ח (בן גמליאל) אמר שלש תיבות עשאו שתים של זהב ואחת של עץ נתן של זהב בשל עץ ושל עץ בשל זהב

See this old shtikle of mine on פרשת תרומה regarding רש”י’s version of this גמרא.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

.ב Plural of מקוה

Well, what is it? The 6th מסכתא in טהרות is commonly known as מקואות. I would have to say that that is certainly the most common pronunciation. However, the text in our opening משנה seems to imply that perhaps it is מקוות. Is it possible that it depends on סמיכות? That is, the regular plural is מקואות but next to מים, it becomes מקוות מים.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

:זכר ליציאת מצרים קי"ז

תוס' ד"ה למען תזכור את יום צאתך מארץ מצרים. לכך קבעו זכר ליציאת מצרים ושמעתי מהר"מ שיש במדרש לפי שבמצרים עבדו בהם בישראל בפרך ופר"ך בא"ת ב"ש וג"ל שהם מלאכות ארבעים חסר אחת וכשנגאלו ממצרים הזהירם על השבת לשבות מאות' ל"ט מלאכות:
A number of years ago, in a shtikle on ואתחנן, I explained a possible connection between יציאת מצרים and שבת. It appears this תוספות is another support for that approach.

Monday, October 14, 2013

הגיענו vs יגיענו קט"ז:

מתני' ... כן ה' אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו יגיענו למועדים ולרגלים אחרים
The שנויי נוסחאות in the משניות references another גירסא which has הגיענו instead of יגיענו. See this Dikdukian post where we make a strong case that הגיענו is in fact correct.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

.ק”ח Quite the איסתניס

לא שאני רב ששת דאיסתניס הוה דאי טעים בצפרא מידי לאורת' לא הוה מהני ליה מיכלא
לא רב ששת איסתניס. מעונג היה ואי הוה טעים מצפרא לא מצי למיטעם מצה לתיאבון לאורתא:
I found this איסתניס-keit to be quite intriguing. After all, we are told (.ברכות נ”ח) that רב ששת was blind. We are also taught (:יומא סד)
וחד אמר אינו דומה מי שרואה ואוכל למי שאינו רואה ואוכל אמר רב יוסף מכאן רמז לסומין שאוכלין ואין שבעין
One is only satiated from the food he eats if he sees it. Therefore, the blind are never fully satiate. How could it be, then, that if רב ששת ate in the morning he would still lack any desire for food in the evening?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

BlackBerry App

I am happy to announce that the Daily Leaf BlackBerry® App is now available, compatible with all devices, including the new BB10 devices.


Apps for other WeeklyShtikle blogs are available as well.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

.כ”ז Generalities

כל מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא אנשים חייבין ונשים פטורות ושלא הזמן גרמא אחד נשים ואחד אנשים חייבין וכללא הוא דכל מצות עשה שהזמן גרמא נשים פטורות הרי מצה שמחה והקהל דמצות עשה שהזמן גרמא הוא ונשים חייבות
רש"י ד"ה שמחה: מצה נמי חובה לנשים במס' פסחים (דף מג.) מהיקישא דלא תאכל עליו חמץ שבעת ימים תאכל עליו מצות כל שישנו בבל תאכל חמץ ישנו בקום אכול מצה ונשים ישנן בבל תאכל חמץ דכל מצות לא תעשה נשים מוזהרות כאנשים בפ"ק דקידושין (דף כט.)

This statement of רש”י is quite ironic in that it actually exemplifies the very point that the גמרא is making. He states unequivocally that women are חייבות in all מצוות לא תעשה. However, as is clearly stated in that משנה in קידושין, women are not subject to the prohibitions of בל תקיף and בל תשחית (relating to shaving and hair cutting.) So רש”י himself is stating a generality whose exclusivity is not to be taken literally.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

.י"ט Past and Present

מתקיף לה רב כהנא השתא דאמרת הפושעים דפשעי ואזלי אלא מעתה דכתיב המוציא והמעלה דמסיק ודמפיק הוא אלא דאסיק ואפיק הכי נמי דפשעי הוא

See this shtikle relating to the understanding of the word המעלה (which appears in this week's פרשה.)

Friday, March 22, 2013

:י"ד Pair of Lechis

לחיין שאמרו כו' לימא תנן סתמא כר"א דאמר לחיין בעינן לא מאי לחיין לחיין דעלמא אי הכי קורה נמי ניתני קורות ומאי קורות קורות דעלמא הכי קאמר אותן לחיין שנחלקו בהן ר' אליעזר וחכמים גובהן עשרה טפחים ורוחבן ועוביין כל שהוא

There is a grammatical significance to this discussion. In the end, the גמרא concludes that we are in fact referring to ר' אליעזר's position and the subsequent dispute regarding it. The first word of the משנה is therefore written/pronounced לְחָיַיִן, the exact translation of which would be a pair of lechis, following a similar structure to עינים or אזנים. If the משנה were to have been interpreted as the גמרא first suggested - referring generally to multiple lechis as they pertain to multiple alleyways, the word would be a simple plural and would probably be punctuated differently, although I'm not quite sure exactly how.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Pythagorean Question

אמר רב כהנא הואיל ושמעתתא דכהני היא אימא בה מילתא הא דאמרת מניח הקורה באלכסון לא אמרן אלא שאין באלכסונו יותר מעשר אבל יש באלכסונו יותר מעשר דברי הכל אינו מניח אלא כנגד הקצר
רש"י ד"ה שאין באלכסונו יותר מעשר. שהמבוי קצר לרחבו הרבה ואין ברוחבו ובארבע אמות הנמשכין להצטרף יותר מעשר
This line in the גמרא seemed fairly simple to me. However, I found the way רש"י explained it to be somewhat troublesome. If I'm understanding correctly, he is suggesting that the מבוי would need to be extremely narrow in order for the אלכסון to be less than 10 אמות. But the simple Pythagorean calculation suggests otherwise. By the Pythagorean Theorem, as illustrated below, a 10 אמה diagonal is achieved only with an approximately 9.2 אמה width, given the extra 4 אמות of wall. A מבוי anyways has to be less than 10 אמות wide. So what exactly does Rashi mean?



Sunday, March 10, 2013

.ב No other משכן?

בשלמא מקדש דאיקרי משכן דכתיב ונתתי משכני בתוככם
וכשנאמר מקרא זה כבר הוקם המשכן שהרי בתורת כהנים נכתב וכל אותו הספר באהל מועד נאמר כדכתיב (ויקרא א) וידבר ה' אליו מאהל מועד ועל איזה משכן היה מבטיחן עוד אם לא על המקדש

I found this assertion in רש"י somewhat troubling. Indeed, the משכן had already been built. But this was not the only משכן. On a number of occasions, the משכן was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt. Could it not be that the פסוק is saying that if we do 'ה's will, he will rebuild the משכן after it has been destroyed?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

:קמז Diumsis

רבי אלעזר בן ערך איקלע להתם אימשיך בתרייהו איעקר תלמודיה כי הדר אתא קם למיקרי בספרא בעא למיקרא החדש הזה לכם אמר החרש היה לבם בעו רבנן רחמי עליה והדר תלמודיה

I heard the following from my Zadie, R’ Chayim Yaakov Bulka, ז"ל:

In parshas Bo, (12:2) B'nei Yisrael are given their first mitzvah as a nation, the mitzvah of Kiddush HaChodesh. This mitzvah deals, in general, with the setting of our calendar. It vests in the Sanhedrin and those empowered by the Sanhedrin, the authority to intercalate months or years (i.e. determine the length of the month or the occurrence of a leap year). The complex calculations and procedures pertaining to intercalation are called "Sod haIbur." As the word "sod," secret, implies, this is part of the deeper realms of Torah.

The above gemara relates a story about the dangerously mystical powers of the wines of Prugaisa and waters of Diumsis. The great Rabbi Elazar ben Arach visited these wonders and was overcome and forgot his learning. When he returned, he got up to read the aforementioned pasuk. Instead of reading "HaChodesh hazeh lachem," this month shall be for you, he switched the dalet for a reish, the zayin for a yud, the chuf for a beis and misread, "hacheireish hayah libam," and their hearts were deafened and muted. The Rabbis prayed for him and he returned to his normal self. Nevertheless, it is quite shocking for such a notable sage to be overcome to such an extent. Is it possible that R' Elazar was so deeply influenced that he forgot how to read an elementary pasuk?

This mysterious performance of R' Elazar may, perhaps, be explained by referring to a beautiful explanation by the Gaon of Vilna. The pasuk (Yeshayah 6:10) says "Make the heart of the people fat, make their ears heavy and smear over their eyes; lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and return..." The pasuk, referring to the sealing off of the path of repentance, starts off with the heart, then the ears and then the eyes but continues backwards from the eyes, then the ears then the heart.

The GR"A explains that eyes, ears and heart correspond respectively to Torah ShebiChsav, the Written Tradition, Torah SheBa'al Peh, the Oral Tradition, and Sodos HaTorah, the deep secrets of the Torah . The study of Torah ShebiChsav and Torah SheBa'al Peh, will ultimately lead to understanding of Sodos HaTorah. The neglect of Torah study will first deprive an understanding of Sodos HaTorah, to be followed by forgeting of Torah SheBa’al Peh and finally, even Torah ShebiChsav will no longer be comprehensible. However, if diligent and continuous study is resumed again, first the eyes will begin the study of the Written Tradition, followed by careful and concentrated attention with the ears to the Oral Tradition and, eventually, by persistent study, the heart will regain the ability to penetrate and comprehend the deep secrets of Torah.

We can assume that R’ Elazar ben Arach, the "ma'ayan hamisgabeir," (Avos 2:8) did not forget the Written and Oral traditions. However, by reading "Their hearts were deafened," he made a personal statement, a cry for help. This pasuk, "HaChodesh hazeh lachem," which commands us to put into practice the Sodos HaTorah, was now beyond his reach. By allowing himself to be drawn to the wines of Prugaisa and waters of Diumsis, his heart became deafened and no longer had the capacity to comprehend Sodos HaTorah, including Sod HaIbur. The rabbis answered his outcry and prayed for him and his mastery of Sodos HaTorah was returned to him.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

:קי"ב Angels and Donkeys and Everything in Between

אמר ר' זירא אמר רבא בר זימונא אם ראשונים בני מלאכים אנו בני אנשים ואם ראשונים בני אנשים אנו כחמורים ולא כחמורו של ר' חנינא בן דוסא ושל רבי פנחס בן יאיר אלא כשאר חמורים

The following is from a הספד delivered by R' Yaakov Weinberg, זצ"ל at the end of the שבעה for R' Ruderman, זצ"ל.

 R' Weinberg explains that we all appreciate that the previous generations were on a much higher spiritual level than we are. This is not the message the גמרא is trying to convey. The גמרא is not coming to give a comparison. Rather, the גמרא is teaching us that one who looks upon the ראשונים as sons of angels, he has the status of a בן אדם. This is the way a normal person should view the ראשונים.  However, if we look at the ראשונים  as simple בני אדם, we are lowering ourselves to donkeys. Why donkeys? The pasuk (ישעיה א:ג) states יָדַע שׁוֹר קֹנֵהוּ וַחֲמוֹר אֵבוּס בְּעָלָיו, The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master's trough. The ox is an animal that knows his owner and therefore appreciates where his food is coming from. The donkey, however, knows only his master's trough. He knows where to get the food, but he does not recognize its source. Therefore, one who views the ראשונים as mere בני אדם is cutting himself off from the previous generations and although he may be thoroughly well-versed in תורה, he has no appreciation of where it has come from and who has passed it down to him. Thus, he is like a donkey. [And not like the donkey of ר' פנחס בן יאיר who recognized his owner but like other donkeys.]

Thursday, January 3, 2013

:צ"ב Different types of sheep?

There is no mention of sheep anywhere on דף צב. Or is there? It's not often that I will have something to say about a note in the מסורת הש"ס but one in particular caught my attention at the bottom of the דף. It pertains to a discussion we've had over at Dikdukian as to whether there is a difference between the words כבש and כשב. I have posted this comment there as well:

Towards the bottom, the word מלגז is used. רש"י translates as "forke." The מסורת הש"ס comments: פי׳ מזלג ע״י חילוף האותיות כמו כבש כשב מוסף ערוך To me, that seems to imply that the words are the same but the letters can simply switched around. But I suppose that is up for interpretation.